Should you have an adults-only affair—or invite kids to your wedding? It's a question almost every couple grapples with at some point in their wedding planning. Whether you want to give them a spot at the reception or have them stay home with a sitter, it's a nice gesture (and one that will be seriously appreciated!) to find a way to accommodate the children of your wedding guests. Here, two ideas that will be fun for the little ones and their parents.
Luckily for those who want to invite kids to their event, one of the hottest wedding trends right now is a reception-within-a-reception just for kids. If you've got the budget for it, it's a total win-win—the tykes will have the time of their lives, while their parents will be free to party sans guilt.
"For one winter wedding, I hired Corporate Kids Events to make a separate tent look like an ice cave," says Annette Garcia Kerslake of Simply Natural Events, in L.A. "They tricked it out with PlayStations and craft projects—kids were building igloos out of sugar cubes!" (Cost for similar parties: $10 to $30 per child per hour.) Elegant Event Sitters also organizes elaborate kiddie bashes; highlights include superhero cape-making, sand-art stations, and a truck outfitted with Xboxes. (The "Super Sitter" package is $1,500 and covers two to three sitters for up to 10 kids for four hours, including dinner and supplies.)
But if you're going the adults-only route, arranging off-premises babysitting is a considerate option that will smooth the way for parents—especially out-of-town guests. Do a Google search for local babysitter-referral services; they can connect you with caretakers who are CPR-certified and have passed background checks. Set up a playroom in a hotel suite close to the reception site, or, if you have a friend who's willing, in a nearby (and child-proofed) home.
And if kids are invited to your reception, but you can't spring for a separate event for them, draft a local sitter to man the kids' table (typical rate: $15 to $20 per hour). This way, your guests can party worry-free (and you can save them and yourself some money by having one sitter watch the group).